Andy Warhol’s 1963 canvas of two Elvis Presleys brandishing guns against a silver background is heading to the auction block at Sotheby’s in May with an estimate range of $30 million to $50 million.
Titled “Double Elvis [Ferus Type],” it was one of 22 Elvis silkscreen paintings first exhibited at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles in late 1963. Nine of them are in museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
“It’s a very desirable image,” said Alberto Mugrabi, whose family has one of the largest private Warhol collections, but not this work. “I’d love to have it.”
In the Sotheby’s version, the second Elvis is faint, looking almost like a shadow. In MoMA’s canvas both figures are clearly visible.
The work, depicting Elvis dressed as a cowboy and shooting from the hip, has no guarantee. Sotheby’s will show it in Los Angeles, London and Hong Kong before offering it during its contemporary-art evening sale on May 9 in New York.
A painting from the series last appeared at auction in 1995 when it fetched $497,500 at Christie’s in New York, according to Artnet, an online art-market data provider. In 2004, Christie’s sold a similar painting, “Single Elvis [Ferus Type],” for $3.4 million.
(Katya Kazakina is a reporter for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are her own.)